Multifamily Dive recently interviewed Attorney Aaron Sokolow. The interview involved Washington, DC rent control, the Consumer Protection Procedures Act, and landlord and tenant law. You can read the article here.
Yesterday, the Mayor’s office returned to the City Council a signed version of the PUBLIC EMERGENCY EXTENSION AND EVICTION AND UTILITY MORATORIUM PHASING EMERGENCY AMENDMENT ACT OF 2021, which will begin phasing in evictions in DC. You can read the law here. Previously, evictions had been subject to a COVID-19 moratorium. Under emergency legislation, the courts would have reopened to all cases 60 days after the July 25, 2021 expiration of the public health emergency. The new law changes the dates when new notices and cases can be filed and adds some new prerequisites. With Mayor Bowser’s signature, this is now law.
Landlords now can initiate residential nonpayment of rent cases, with some new requirements. Whereas the lease previously could have waived the necessity of a 30-day notice to quit, those waiver provisions are no longer valid, and all rent cases must begin with the issuance of a notice of past due rent. The new law also requires that an application to the Stay DC program is filed at least 60 days prior to filing of an eviction case, and landlords will be able to directly submit such applications on behalf of tenants in the near future.
Landlords also now can file residential cases involving public safety, drug havens, or intentional property damage, so long as the case fulfills the specific requirements of the statute.
Some residential notices other than nonpayment of rent can be issued as soon as September 26, 2021, but breach of lease or personal use and occupancy cases cannot be filed until January 1, 2022. Similarly, squatter cases, post-foreclosure cases, terminated co-op member cases, and commercial cases cannot be filed until January 1, 2022.
The new law also adopted some new requirements for eviction cases. These include a requirement to incorporate a ledger in a nonpayment notice, a photograph to prove service of process by posting, a Notice of Claim for some cases, a basic business license, translation to the tenant’s primary language if other than English or Spanish, and a prohibition on nonpayment cases for amounts less than $600.
No residential or commercial landlord may issue a notice of rent increase until December 31, 2021.
For judgments that exist from prior to the public health emergency, the US Marshal Service will begin to reschedule evictions. Those landlords must provide the tenants with a 30-day notice of the new eviction date.
This is a very complex and nuanced law. This blog/web site is made available for educational purposes only. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law, but does not provide specific legal advice and should not substitute for legal advice. Clients should contact us at 202-269-3333 so we can discuss your specific matter.
Washington, DC’s Mayor announced today a $350 Million program to assist landlords and tenants with unpaid rent. The programs is called Stronger Together by Assisting You (STAY DC). Residential landlords and tenants can apply for the grant to cover past and future rental payments in addition to utilities like water, gas, and electricity.
DC’s press release states, “To qualify for STAY DC, you must be a renter or housing provider in the District who is at risk, or has a tenant at risk, of not paying rent or utilities on a residential dwelling. An applicant’s total 2020 annual household income, as set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, may not exceed designated levels according to household size. For example, a family of four must make less than $79,600. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance going back to April 1, 2020, and 3 months of assistance for future payments at a time for a total of 18 months of assistance.”
Renters and housing providers can begin submitting applications for rental and utility assistance today at stay.dc.gov. Applicants can call the STAY DC Call Center at 833-4-STAYDC for assistance. More information can also be found at https://dhcd.dc.gov/service/covid-19-rental-assistance. A copy of the FAQs can be found here.
Please contact our office at 202-269-3333 with any questions.
In a case argued by Battino & Sokolow attorneys Aaron Sokolow and Vivianette Velazquez, the DC Superior Court has struck DC’s eviction filing ban as unconstitutional. This has a somewhat limited applicability because bans still exist on issuing many notices. However, this ruling is helpful to DC landlords. A story from the Washington Post, in which Aaron Sokolow was quoted, can be found here. The Court Order can be read here.